Saturday, April 30, 2016

Ribbons Attached

According to the dictionary:


Reunion: a social event for a group of people who have not seen each other for a long time

College reunion: a notorious event known for reuniting middle aged people who are anxious to relive their college school years.

So here I was 35 years later gathered together with a group of people, most of whom, I had little in common with, well only 4 years of a shared experience at a very good liberal arts college. With all of us older, and most of us heavier, grayer, tired, and wrinkled, it was hard to recognize some folks. 

When we arrived for brunch we were given our name tag with a red ribbon attached that read "Alumni" (which was questionable given "Alumni" refers to plural graduates, "Alumnus" refers to a single make graduate, and "Aluma" is a single female graduate - but I digress.) Then we were asked to move down the table to get additional ribbons to indicate the sorority/ fraternity we were members of, as well as a ribbon for ODK or Phi Beta Kapa - should we have been a member of one of those honor societies.  

As I looked at my name tag with the two ribbons on it, I wondered if there were ribbons for all the extra curricula activities such as yearbook, band, choir, student council - all those things I hardly had time for. The two ribbons were enough for me, I could not imagine walking around with a name tag bedecked 5 or 6 colored ribbons, that made one look like a retired military officer who had spent his life earning different colored ribbons in all the foreign conflicts he had been involved in.

I managed to get myself cornered several times by classmates who were more than willing to offer, unsolicited, a litany of their children's grand accomplishments - much akin to one of those long letters that accompany their Christmas cards no doubt. After the 2nd such episode I stopped asking about anyone's children. Not that I wanted to be rude, just one more episode hearing about Jr's exploits as a member of Mensa, an Eagle Scout, a top basketball player, and the Winner of the Kiwanis essay contest three years in a row would cause me to commit hari kari in front of God and every body.

There was the homely lady who talked to me like we were long lost friends and expounded in details about great exploits and episodes we (supposedly) did together, none of which were even vaguely familiar to me. Pleasantly surprising was the acquaintance I ran into and had a very nice (well balanced) conversation with. One lady, who was a friend of friend, kept telling me the same story about her daughter until I finally just turned and (rudely) left in mid sentence. Even knowing my dear Aunt Kat was somewhere having a hissy fit at my unlady like actions, better I impolitely leave than rudely say something - which was my only other option. 

Don't think  I didn't enjoy it, I did. I saw many faces I had not seen in a while and caught up with some I have seen more recently. Friends introduced me to classmates whose path I never crossed while in school. This was just the brunch, the big deal was that night. As we sat eating breakfast and sipping mimosas, champagne, and/or wine my mind went back 39 years went I first set foot on campus. What magical times we had. 

I was brought back to reality when one of the ladies at my table commented to her classmate sitting next to her, "I was very disappointed that they did not recognize our organizations in college. Why, I should have had a ribbon for band and choir". She paused, "and French Club," she added.

The lady next to her agreed, "I was thinking the same thing. What about those of us in student council? We should have a ribbon for each activity what we participated in." This lady was one of those who sermonized me for a long while about all the awards her children had won. 

One more glass of wine and I was going to tell her that my daughter started a small tech company that Google bought before she could take it public, my DH was the winner of a Pulitzer prize, and I managed to win the lottery and had invested well. Then I would give her a chance to take all that in before I added that I was on George Clooney's Christmas card list and spent each August at Balmoral. 

Go big or go home, the Hell with colored ribbons.

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